A Marine Corps imagery analyst assigned to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in Springfield, Virginia, was honored Oct. 21 during a Washington Capitals’ home game at the Capitol One Arena in Washington, D.C.
NGA nominated Staff Sgt. David Yi, and the Capitals selected him as part of the team’s “Salute the Troops” program that honors a service member at each home game during the season.
“Staff Sgt. Yi goes above and beyond his duties. He operates at a higher level and is the embodiment of a stellar military service member,” said NGA’s Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Brandee Churchill, who supported Yi’s nomination.
Yi joined the Marine Corps in 2007, and over the past three years taught more than 200 Marines at the Marine Corps Intelligence School’s imagery analysis and geospatial information detachment at NGA. His military experiences – such as Middle East deployments and domestic disaster support – allow him to portray real world scenarios to students, he said.
In 2012, he deployed to help first responders and the Federal Emergency Management Agency assess the damage from Hurricane Sandy and created landing-zone imagery products for military pilots, he said.
“We pulled imagery from before and after the disaster from (NGA) databases to get a good idea of how much destruction happened and how much support people on the ground needed,” said Yi. “Imagery really gives commanders, planners and those going into the mission the first look on the ground.”
Hurricane Sandy was Yi’s first real experience as a deployed tactical imagery analyst that also hit close to home, he said.
“I grew up on the northeast portion of New Jersey, and the hurricane hit hard in Staten Island, Long Island, Brooklyn and (the) Jersey shore – (where) I spent most of my summers at as a kid,” said Yi. “To know that I was able to help them was very humbling. It was rewarding.”
Yi credits his training and deployment experiences for preparing him to teach imagery analysis, which in turn has made him a better Marine.
“He is always leading from the front and ensures that he is involved with the joint team at NGA,” said Churchill. “When all the senior enlisted advisors of all military branches at NGA saw his nomination we all agreed that he should be recognized.”
The Capitals’ “Salute the Troops” honor is a public recognition of Yi’s dedication to service. He will get seats to a game.
“Teaching is really my chance to give back to the Marine Corps and intelligence community, and I’m honored to be nominated,” said Yi.